Date Palm – Renewal
Genus: Phoenix – Family: Arecaceae
Date palm signals a time of renewal after a long and difficult period. It reminds us that the Sun will always rise and that life goes on. This is a time of joyous optimism as we renew our vision for the future.
Date palm, Phoenix dactylifera is one of 14 species in the Phoenix genus. Ancient Greeks referred to date palms as phoinikos (phoenix), the mythological bird of fire, regeneration and the sun. In Egypt the mythological Bennu bird was associated with herons and date palms, as symbols of the Sun’s eternal resurrection. The fronds of date palms symbolized the plumage of the Bennu bird. In the ancient city of Heliopolis “City of the Sun” the Bennu bird was worshipped as the embodiment of the immortal soul or “ba” of Atum-Ra, the Sun god. In their creation myth, the Bennu grew on a sacred mound of dirt called benben, which rose from the primordial waters.
The species name, dactylifera, is based on the Greek words daktylos, (digit) and fero (I bear) because dates resembled fingers. These ancient Egyptian created a decimal numeric system based on our ten fingers (digits). A palm was the width of a hand, which consisted of four fingers. The word decade (ten years) comes from the Egyptian word “decan” which equated to ten days or “dates”.
In 2500 BCE, date palms inspired the creation of stone obelisks that were used as sundials to track the movement of the sun in order to record time. The pyramid-shaped benben stone (capstone) was placed on top on obelisks and pyramids to symbolize the immortality of the soul through life and death.
Date palms renewed our vision by showing us that the wisdom of nature is within our grasp.
Date palms can grow to heights of 75 feet and live to be 150 years old. Fossil records indicate that date palms first appeared at least 50 million years ago. They have been cultivated as a food source since 7000 BCE. Date palms are native to Northern Africa, the Middle East and the Indus Valley.
It is a culturally significant tree to Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. Many cultures saw it as a Tree of Life or Sacred Tree that connected earth with the heavens. It was seen as a tree of fertility, peace and victory. Date palms have been associated with gods and goddesses such as Inanna, Ishtar, Apollo and Nike to name a few.
Message: Date palms carry the mystery teachings of creation. When working with the spirit of date palm we find ourselves in the company of ancient alchemists who remind us that our greatest source of life is the seed within our immortal soul. This process of inner alchemy is based on mastering our ability to perceive our world in a new way. The spirit of the date palm helps us to remember that we can shift our reality by changing our perception. Light and love are the elixirs of life that renew our soul. Their source is not outside of us; it is within us. As we remember who we really are, we step into space of the immortal soul.
Challenge: Being jaded or hardened by life and not able to be creative or open to trying something new.
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